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Civil Rights

ABA President: Ariz. Immigration Law Is ‘Draconian’ and ‘Likely Unconstitutional’

Posted Apr 30, 2010 5:54 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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The president of the American Bar Association strongly criticized a controversial new Arizona immigration law in a written statement today.

The law, which requires police to seek proof of an individual's immigration status if they have a reasonable suspicion that the person is in the country illegally, is seen by many as targeting minorities for racial profiling. The law also makes it a misdemeanor to fail to provide proof, if asked, that the person is legally in the United States.

"This law encourages second-class treatment of individuals based on the color of their skin, and that is unacceptable," says ABA President Carolyn B. Lamm, who in a statement calls the recently signed measure "draconian" and "likely unconstitutional."

Specifically, it implicates equal protection and due process concerns, threatening nearly half a century of civil rights progress in our country, she continues. "It is, quite simply put, a law based on prejudice and fear, one whose purpose is to be divisive."

As opponents of the new Arizona law call for national boycotts of the state, some lawmakers in Oklahoma are considering filing a bill that would take an even tougher approach to the problem of illegal immigration, the Oklahoman reports.

Among the enforcement provisions being discussed, says state Rep. Randy Terrill, are confiscating vehicles driven by illegal immigrants and preventing children of two illegal immigrants from becoming U.S. citizens even if they are born in this country.

Related coverage:

ABC News: "David Axelrod: Arizona Anti-Immigration Law Is 'Misguided,' Could Lead to Abuses"

Arizona Republic: "Arizona immigration law: New push for reform"

Los Angeles Times (op-ed): "What Arizona's immigration law really says"

Washington Post: "Protesters of Arizona's new immigration law try to focus boycotts"

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